Saturday, November 4, 2006

Big surprise: U.S. Seeks Silence on CIA Prisons

The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the "alternative interrogation methods" that their captors used to get them to talk.

The government says in new court filings that those interrogation methods are now among the nation's most sensitive national security secrets and that their release -- even to the detainees' own attorneys -- "could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave damage." Terrorists could use the information to train in counter-interrogation techniques and foil government efforts to elicit information about their methods and plots, according to government documents submitted to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Oct. 26.


The government, in trying to block lawyers' access to the 14 detainees, effectively asserts that the detainees' experiences are a secret that should never be shared with the public.


Gitanjali Gutierrez, an attorney for Khan's family, responded in a court document yesterday that there is no evidence that Khan had top-secret information. "Rather," she said, "the executive is attempting to misuse its classification authority . . . to conceal illegal or embarrassing executive conduct."

Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor who has represented several detainees at Guantanamo, said the prisoners "can't even say what our government did to these guys to elicit the statements that are the basis for them being held. Kafka-esque doesn't do it justice. This is 'Alice in Wonderland.' "
Nerdified link. My emphasis added, as it pretty well cuts to the chase. Of course what happens is that in the effort to conceal its practice of torture, the government will end up with many individuals who have no ties to any terrorism who simply cannot be released lest they tell their stories to family, friends, media sources, etc. The typical practice of regimes engaging in such torture when faced with the cost of warehousing mass quantities of torture victims indefinitely is to take the next seemingly logical step: mass extermination. As bloodthirsty as our current regime is, and as bloodthirsty as the more virulent elements of the authoritarian right are, I suspect that's an issue we'll be wrestling with as a nation in the not too distant future.

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